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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #140

Quick news, new donation options, in the mailbox, meetups, updates.

Published October 20, 2023
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 100K readers.

Hey everyone,

What about some music while you're reading? This week I bing-listened to this track: Elephants Never Forget by Haken:

Welcome back for another weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up.

If you're joining us for the first time, you can read how this started out and what this is all about nowadays. If you like what you see, subscribe to the newsletter (free) and donate some bucks to keep this otherwise free and ad-free project alive.

PSA: New donation options

Thanks to all who reached out with tips and opinions about donations and the "business model" of I listened to your voice and made a bunch of new donation options available, even if it will be a nightmare to keep track of all the platforms and compile the list of donors from now on. 😅

Reading for the weekend

Pic: Videoton VT-340

Videoton VT-340

  • I put a lot of effort into the 1976 Videoton VT-340 display terminal post, learned about obscure things like cable lacing, and "discovered" an undocumented keyswitch variant? Will see. Check out this picture-heavy disassembly post full of surprises.
  • Sebastian Stumpf shared the files of his Abomination, a classy split keyboard with trackpad and some splay.

Pic: Abomination


  • PrimeNumber shared the files of the handwired Lattice60, an ortholinear keyboard with standard keycaps and low-poly case.
  • Ming-Gih Lam is back with a new project: MidEvil is an orthoish/Alice monoblock split keyboard with a numpad in the middle.

Pic: Midevil


  • MickiusMousius shared the updated Rolio 0.9, a premium split keyboard in a nice aluminum chassis.
  • Giraffasax updated the SpUnly58. Iteration V1.2 of this monoblock split comes with adjusted spacing, splay, and stagger.
  • BeeKeeb's Leo introduced the open-source Corne GLP, a variant specifically designed for Gateron low-profile hotswap sockets.
  • Felix Kuehling released the updated keycaps for his Mantis keyboard.

Pic: Mantis caps

Mantis caps

  • This sphere keyboard and wireless air mouse is the creation of Pavlo Khmel – with STLs.
  • Inspiration: ArcPedals – QMK-powered pedals for your feet.

Pic: minipeg48 & kowgary16

minipeg48 & kowgary16

  • After Sporewoh's bancouver40, Chosfox has two other compact Choc-spaced orthos on offer (pre-sale!): minipeg48 & kowgary16. (I owe you a Bancouver-review, hopefully next week.)
  • Tool: After his Dactyl generator, Ryan announced Cosmos, another online tool to generate ergo splits. The beta version is available, you may have seen and used it last week, but it's not in the announcement so I shouldn't include it here I guess.


  • WIP: Seismos by Danny Vo is a framework and physical layout testing environment, similar to the Zebra. The PCBs haven't been tested yet.
  • Closed-source for now but it has a blog entry with some photos and details: Shoveler by jawick.


  • Cheapwire – a handwired split by coccolizo945. Single controller on the right, DB25 serial connectors.

In the mailbox

Haha, 8BitDo's Retro mechanical keyboard has arrived. What a fun gadget! Thanks! (This was a free sample, well, as far as there are free things in the EU customs regime.) This was a last-minute delivery so I had barely time to take some quick photos. I got the Nintendo themed version. It looks very cool and comes with the "dual super buttons" – clicky and thocky at the same time. Review later.




  • The first donor in the new system is Ryan. Thanks but I can't even find the notification about your donation now. 😅 I'm already lost in the jungle of all the different platforms. Will update the donor list later.
  • And as always, many thanks to everyone who helped this project thus far, especially to regular donors. Without you, this project wouldn't turn 3 in a few weeks.

About the new donation options

I get it. Some of you would like to support my work but hate PayPal and think it's a big barrier. I hear you.

That's why I've added new options so you can use Stripe, PayPal, Ko-fi, Buy Me a Coffee and Patreon now. You find all the links on the donation page.

Choose what you prefer. If you don't have a preference, the order of list items on that page reflects my preference, which means roughly the cost of each service.

Donation history

So yep, I started with Patreon about 2.5 years ago, then migrated to Buymeacoffee, but both services were.. hm.. quite far from perfect. At least for my use case and in those times. And I moved on last December when I started to experience various issues with BMC too, the most serious being automatically cancelling all the subscriptions, asking all my "members" to resubscribe due to – surprise! – their debate with PayPal. ;)

In fact, in those days both Patreon and BMC served as a mere gateway to paypal, sending the donations to PP after deducting their own fees (about 5-8%). The extra feature was the possibility of subscription and recurring donations.

So when PP introduced recurring donations, bypassing BMC seemed to be a good idea. But now PP is starting to cause me some headache too… Donations of recurring donors, successfully paying for months, start to get canceled. Donations from hitherto supported countries start to get refused? I really don't know because there are no meaningful error messages. Readers mostly from Asia have been reporting that they were unable to donate ("country not supported") from Japan, Hong-Kong, etc., this was a known issue. But lately donations from New-Zealand, France and also from the US have been refused.

So I tried to explore alternatives like Stripe, and revisited Patreon and BMC, plus signed up for Ko-Fi.

Yes, there's a 5-8% fee, but if you think about it, PP may have a 50% fee for small donations ($1) because of the fix flat part of the fee on top of a percentage.

Bottom line: feel free to use whatever platform you prefer.

Meetup database

New additions:


As always, this meetup database is both a calendar and an archive so feel free to send me upcoming events or even ones from the recent past to make this collection as comprehensive as possible.


  • New donation options
  • I signed up for the map service to check out how that works, I have two weeks to try it for free. What I can see is that the usage will far exceed the limits of their free plan so I have two weeks to find something else.


Still with me?

I had a date last night. It was perfect. Tomorrow, I’ll try a grape.


That's all for today. Thanks for checking by. As always: Keep learning and building!

Until next time,

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Published on Fri 20th Oct 2023. Featured in KBD #140.


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